Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Japanese society sickened by anti foreigners "Hate speech"
The nationalist agenda

The Mainichi Shimbun national daily carries today, July 10th 2013, my views on Japanese society, with a focus on extremism and nationalism with the current anti foreigners, Koreans and Chinese, demonstrations held by Japanese extreme right organisations in "Hate speech". We had an event at the press club yesterday with Mr. Kunio Suzuki, a right-wing adviser to the nationalist Japanese political organisation Issuikai and Mr. Yoshifu Arita, Senator of the Democratic Party of Japan.

One is a nationalist the other is a centre-left Senator. Suzuki believes these Hate Speech groups are in close contact with the police and able to get permission to organise demonstrations: "These demonstrators are flying the Japanese flag at these marches. I feel that the 'Hinomaru' flag is crying at being used by these people in this way." Suzuki stated.

I explained in the interview by Mainichi Shimbun that Japanese appear indifferent to their world and often refuse to stand against discriminations. In other words, that Japan is non committed, indifferent and insensitive to others, but that such hate speech only is the fact of minority in desolation with economic hardship and that Japanese majority opts for very peaceful policies.

Such Hate Speech demonstrations happen during week-ends (Sunday mostly) in Tokyo Shin-Okubo, quarters of residency of many Koreans residents. 600,000 Koreans live in Japan, most descendants of labourers brought to Japan during colonial rule. A lot of Chinese reside in Japan and the territorial dispute added hostility steam between Japan and her neighbours.

The Mainichi Shimbun article:

Picture from a video footage at Shin-Okubo, Tokyo "Korea town"

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

2 years after Fukushima, Japan one step closer to restart nuclear reactors

Map of nuclear plants in Japan

Nuclear operators in Japan have applied to restart 10 reactors, potentially paving the way for a widespread return to nuclear power in coming years. Four companies applied under new rules introduced following Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

Hokkaido Electric, Kansai Electric, Shikoku Electric and Kyushu Electric submitted applications to restart the plants under the new regulations on Monday and sent applications for a total of 10 reactors at five plants. The new rules require nuclear operators to put in place better safeguards against disasters including tsunamis, earthquakes and terrorist attacks. 

NRA chairman Shunichi Tanaka said that bringing safety standards to international norms would "take a long time". The NRA is responsible for determining whether the reactors meet the new safety standards. The nuclear companies are then required to seek approval from national and regional politicians. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants Japan's nuclear reactors to be restarted. The country relied heavily on nuclear power for its energy supply prior to the 2011 disaster. The earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011 crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, causing meltdowns at three nuclear reactors. Engineers have since stabilised the plant but years of work lie ahead to fully contain the disaster and tackle its effects. 

NRA chairman Shunichi Tanaka

The Nuclear Regulation Authority admitted that the awareness of the dangers related to working with nuclear technology had been weak prior to the disaster, and it said that it hoped new standards would force the companies to change their approach. "The new regulations include extremely stringent requirements that the operators would not be able to endure if they don't change their culture" said the authority chairman Shunichi Tanaka. He added that the new regulator had what it took to impose the new regulations. "We have large authority and powers. If the operator does not comply with our regulations, they won't be able to operate, let alone restart their reactors." 

Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democrats must act carefully "to avoid compromising the independence of the new regulator, which is struggling to build credibility with a public whose faith in nuclear power was shaken after meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima Daiichi plant." The Nuclear Regulation Authority has said it will take at least six months to review nuclear plants, after which the consent of communities that are host to reactors is needed. 2 years after Fukushima, Japan's nuclear thriller unfolds...